Hey, Let’s Design the Kindle 3!

kindle3logoNow that we know the official scoop on Amazon.com’s Kindle 2, it’s time to begin gabbing in earnest about what we’d like to see in the Kindle 3 which is surely a year to fifteen months off. And given that the Kindle 2 is evolutionary rather than revolutionary, why not start think about a more dramatically different third-generation device? After the jump, Technologizer’s humble game plan for making the Kindle 3 truly great.

First of all, Kindle 2 is clearly an advance on the first generation model, with its slicker and thinner design and better case…


But it would be better still if Amazon figured out how to make a color screen make sense…


And if Amazon matched the touchscreen capability in Sony’s Reader, it could make the display occupy more of the available space and ditch the physical keyboard–heck, it could get rid of all the buttons except one to get you back to the home screen…


The Amazon’s paperback-like size makes for a nice large screen, but you can certainly make the case that the Kindle would be handier if it were small enough to fit in a pocket…


The Kindle 2 may be a nice-looking piece of design, but there’s room for improvement. All things being equal, black is trendier than white. And a little metal trim never hurt any gadget….


And hey, once it’s small enough to go in your pocket, why not make it a phone? And let it run other applications that take advantage of its data connection?


Just kidding! Mostly…


, ,

  1. Vulpine February 9, 2009 at 12:23 pm #

    I see you took my idea to heart.

    Personally, I think keeping the whole unit at about the size of a paperback book really would be the right size. It could easily fit into the average jacket/sport coat pocket, even an inner one, and still be large enough to read easily. Your third image (admittedly about the size of a trade paperback or hardbound book) is about the closest to what I expected from Amazon this time.

    I expect this, with iPod Touch capabilities, is what Apple will be releasing later this year.

  2. Fred February 9, 2009 at 12:31 pm #

    I was waiting for the last picture to be a paperback book.

  3. bobwool February 9, 2009 at 12:34 pm #

    Excuse my ignorance, but what is the keypad used for anyway? Isn’t the Kindle just a device to read from, not write to? I would expect, if not a touchscreen, just some simple navigation buttons – home button, arrows for paging forward and backward, bookmark.

    Unless the Kindle allows you to add notes to a page, like if you were doing research.

  4. David Hamilton February 9, 2009 at 1:03 pm #

    The cover looks great in colour – shame that the next 300-odd pages – you know, the ones you actually READ – will be in black and white.

    Now – remind me please: How long does the iPhone go on a charge? 24 hours if you turn off 3G? So, all you need to do is to buy 14 iPhones and you’ll have a replacement for the Kindle. Niiiice…

    Of course, if someone were to produce an iPhone with a monochrome screen, you might have a winner. 😉

  5. Tim February 9, 2009 at 2:18 pm #

    This story would fit perfectly in the pages of MAD Magazine. lol!

  6. Benj Edwards February 9, 2009 at 3:21 pm #

    Hahaha. Classic, Harry. I love it.

    As it stands, there are only two things stopping me from buying a Kindle: 1) price, and 2) no backlight. I don’t even know if a backlight is possible with epaper, but it would be nice. But heck, I guess I’d still buy one anyway if it were under $100.

  7. Dave Zatz February 9, 2009 at 4:14 pm #

    The NY Times quoted Amazon saying Kindle books are coming to mobile phones. So that iPhone look isn’t out of the question…

    bobwool, the keyboard is to search for the books you want to read from Amazon.com. This device doesn’t sync with wires, connects direct to the net (via Sprint). You can also use the keypad to make annotations, but I’m not sure that you’d want to.

  8. Derek B. February 9, 2009 at 6:17 pm #

    Teeheehee. I love it.

  9. Mlm Sales February 9, 2009 at 7:47 pm #

    hehehe like the evolution pics, very graphic

  10. Harry McCracken February 9, 2009 at 9:16 pm #

    Benj: The Sony Reader has a backlit screen. It’s on demand when you need it, not continuous (kind of like an old PalmPilot).


  11. pond February 10, 2009 at 4:52 am #

    Harry: The Sony Reader, as I understand it, has a frontlit screen. Backlighting is as impossible with eink as it would be a billboard.

    For the K3, I’m in favor of the Microsoft approach. Let Amazon license kindleware to anybody who wants to make a compatible device. Amazon would control the file-format and the online store. Third parties could develop pc-apps for reading and buying kindle-editions, or put kindle-editions on smartphones, or wifi-only kindles, or LCD-kindles, kindle-netbooks, or even kindles on HDTVs.

  12. joblo February 13, 2009 at 8:03 am #

    Just some personal thoughts and observations:

    I think a touch screen is nothing more than a way to attract grease and make the screen look disgusting. My G-1 Android phone is proof of that. As for backlighting, Why? All backlighting does is drain the battery. I purchased a great external light for my Kindle-1 at Borders. This is the same backlight that is offered on Amazon’s Kindle page and it does a fantastic job. Additionally, unlike a backlit screen the e-ink pages don’t disappear in bright sunlight but get even more readable. My usual response to the complaint about the lack of a backlight is to say that “you never complain when your paperback book doesn’t come with a backlight.” As for color, since I am reading text I don’t see it as a necessity.

    This is not to say that there are no drawbacks to the new K-2. The principal one is the lack of a user changeable battery. Why is Amazon insisting on adopting one of Apple’s worst faults? Additionally taking away the SD card support available in the K-1 was an idiotic decision. So what that the new device has 2 GB of memory. My K-1 has 4 GB. And what’s with the decision to offer the K-2 with no cover but charge an additional $30 for an accessory that should be included?

    Overall I plan on holding onto my K-1 for as long as possible. For all of it’s design faults it still offers me more than the K-2 which, aside from the changes in button layout, seems to me to be mostly a step backwards.

  13. Jennifer March 13, 2009 at 11:47 am #

    About being in grayscale- not all books are in black and white. There are a whole slew of childrens books that could be formatted for a kindle that I could see parents buying for road trips or the like- and you would certainly need color for something like that. And if they ever decide to add more multimedia uses for the kinlde a color screen will be a must.

    I see this product as developing with always keeping the reader in mind but in today’s market people want a single electronic device that can do it all for them. This one already plays music and accesses the internet- I don’t see why they wouldn’t add a backlight with the next generation and color 🙂 It seems so obvious!

    I would die for a product that I could write with too. How about a stilus and a touch screen so I could write my own books on the go?

    • ann November 12, 2010 at 11:58 pm #

      That is exactly an iPad….not a reading device…

  14. david May 18, 2010 at 1:00 pm #

    ipad, not made by apple so it works with pdfs, flash, adobe products, etc

    (or an ipad that does work with those things)

    & a nicer screen that gives u less eye strain (probably not something as sophisticated as e-Ink – just a bit better LCD or next-gen screen)

    i’d buy something like that

    • ann November 13, 2010 at 12:04 am #

      it makes no sense for kindle to compete with ipad. these 2 products are just totally different things targeting different kind of users.

  15. Roberta Martinez February 5, 2011 at 9:50 pm #

    I have a great idea, but I want some of the profit. I am writing it for University Credit. Patent pending.


  1. Better Read Than Dead :: Nerd World - TIME.com - February 10, 2009

    […] this test. Imagine if Apple had designed the Kindle. (As an aid, check out  the third version, here.) Would you pay $200 for that device if it were connected to an online bookstore via WhisperNet? […]